Consumer confidence

Consumer confidence hits highest level in almost 18 years

NEW YORK – Aug. 28, 2018 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in August following a modest increase in July. The Index now stands at 133.4, up from 127.9 in July.

The Present Situation Index improved from 166.1 to 172.2, while the Expectations Index – a gauge of consumers’ outlooks about the short-term future – increased from 102.4 last month to 107.6 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000 (135.8), following a modest improvement in July,” says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. (Future) expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018.”

Franco says that “these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term.”

Current conditions
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved further in August. Those stating business conditions are “good” increased from 38.1 percent to 40.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 10.3 percent to 9.1 percent.

Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 42.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.

Future conditions
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook bounced back in August. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 22.9 percent to 24.3 percent; however, those expecting business conditions to worsen rose marginally from 10.3 percent to 10.5 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the future labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.6 percent to 21.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased from 15.2 percent to 14.1 percent.

Regarding short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 20.4 percent to 25.5 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 9.4 percent to 7.0 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 17.

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